We Go Afield

Perhaps it’s useful . . . instructive . . . to see my Casual Friday clothes re-purposed as vacation wear with a limited prop box of accessories? And to see the glories of Maine?
The Photographer and I are trying to divide our time between three major activities:
(1) lazing on our floating dock, (2) eating, and (3) seeing local points of interest.
On Tuesday, we visited Belfast and Searsport.

We liked Belfast tremendously. Belfast has had several lives — port, shoe manufacturing, fishing village, and home to customer service operations for a couple of large corporations. Today, it is best known for its working waterfront — fishing and ship-building — and art scene.
Here we are exploring the docks.
In Belfast
Nimble as a billy goat in fun sneakers

Seaweed lichen
This photo is not instructive, but I love the texture of this stone pier: seaweed and lichen
You’ve previously seen this sweater and these pants here with fancy espadrilles. Fancy espadrilles are not for the working waterfront. Non, non.

The Photographer and I noticed this plaque on the pier and thought we would each be very lucky to earn such a memorial.
A life well lived, we thought

While nosing about the main streets of Belfast, we saw a couple of signs for Sheep Jones’s work, which was a little exciting because we have one of her paintings (which we bought at a gallery in D.C.). We found not just her work, but the painter herself and her sister, who is also a painter.
Sheep Jones!
Sheep Jones herself (far right) and her sister Julie Cyr (center) bearing witness to The Directrice’s delight at finding herself in their studio
By Sheep Jones
A work by Sheep Jones

Continuing to nose about, we found the Blue Alpaca Farm store, where I was persuaded to try on an alpaca hat.
Alpaca hat
I was assured the alpaca died of natural causes

Is that what they told you?
Alpacas wearing alpaca hats
The Photographer loves this hat, but I think it is a bit much for me.
I bought some fingerless gloves knitted from alpaca wool instead: a pair for me and a pair for a colleague.
I want to look somewhat interesting -- not crazy
I want to look somewhat interesting — not bonkers

In Searsport we visited the Penobscot Maritime Museum, which is a beautifully maintained group of houses and barns holding many artifacts from the region’s history of maritime trades. At one point during the nineteenth century, the majority of the country’s sea captains came from Searsport, Maine.* The museum was a bit undercurated for my taste — I like text heavy exhibits that convey strong narratives, themes, and compelling trivia — but if you like paintings of ships, this is the place for you! The paintings are really wonderful, so that recommendation is not a joke. I would go again and I definitely would bring children there.
There was a cabin-size camera obscura on the grounds of the museum; I posed outside and The Photographer popped inside and snapped this image from the back wall.
Camera Obscura
All from a pinhole of light

If you are hungry in (or around) Belfast, I recommend Chase’s Daily on Main Street — everything is beautiful and delicious. We picked up a beautiful quiche and cookies and ate them on the grounds of the Maritime Museum.
Same picture, taken with digital camera
Same scene, taken with digital camera

on the beach
I like a rocky beach
On the way back to our cottage, we stopped at Moose Point State Park. Such a beautiful spot! Rolling fields above the water are perfect for a picnic.

On Wednesday, we bestirred ourselves early and drove from Camden to Mt. Desert Island (approximately 2 hours) to visit Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.
Bar Harbor: Very pretty! But we prefer Camden. Many of the best restaurants in Bar Harbor seem to be open only for dinner. We had an okay, but not great, lunch at a restaurant that received 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor.**
Partially shaded; the harbor is behind me
Partially shaded; the harbor is behind me

Me again, with Denim Jacket, which now thinks it’s a Mainer
You’ve seen this dress before, too. It’s perfect for a day of sight-seeing and light physical activity.

The dress and sandals are surprisingly good for scrambling over rocks.
To be clear, we did not hike up the mountain. We drove up, and witnessed a screaming fight in the parking lot over a spot close to the entrance. The drivers involved did not realize that there were plenty of spots around the corner . . .
Regardless of how one got to the top, we all had the same magnificent view.
Atop Mount Cadillac
Atop Mount Cadillac, Bar Harbor is somewhere below

* Admittedly, this is a piece of compelling trivia and I did learn it at the Penobscot Maritime Museum. Even better, we learned that when American Revolutionary naval captain John Paul Jones engaged a British convoy and realized his ship, the Bonhomme Richard, would be quickly outgunned by the British frigate Serapis, he sailed into the Serapis, lashed the ships together, boarded Serapis with his men, fought hand-to-hand, won, and sailed away in the superior Serapis.
** I like Trip Advisor, but it has its limits. The reviews are not indexed against reviewer expectations, which means that people tend to level harsher reviews against more expensive places. Not helpful! Cost is totally objective. I don’t need someone to tell me that a place is expensive; I can see that on the menu. We had our best meal in Camden at a restaurant that only received 4 stars on Trip Advisor . . . and the Subway just outside town received 3.5. The Subway reviews, though, are worth the read. One review, in its totality, said, “It was better than last time.”

9 thoughts on “We Go Afield”

  1. I counted 8 Bob Ryan qualities that you already possess, and only 2 that you can never achieve – though come to think of it, you could go back to school and get some kind of degree from Brown, and we may yet have another Korean War…

  2. It’s delightful to hear about your trip! I’m afraid your talents as a travel writer are being wasted while you toil away in service of the law. Please send us more insights.

  3. Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures and compelling trivia ! I especially love Bob Ryan’s plaque, the alpaca hat and the glorious blues in the last shot. John Paul Jones and the Serapis puts me in mind of the Dutch towing away the HMS Royal Charles after the Medway raid (and indeed bits of that ship are still proudly on display at the Rijksmuseum).

    • I love this — “Because you negotiated in bad faith, we’ll be taking your favorite ship now . . .” I looked this up and read the ship wasn’t even that useful to the Dutch because it’s draft was too deep to come into port; they moored it off-shore and made it a tourist attraction (“We took their best ship”) until King Charles asked them to stop.

  4. Delightful post. Love the trivia. My husband and I are in Maine as I write, but a half hour inland from Camden. We are journeying farther inland to visit our daughter at her theater camp. Anyway, I am enjoying the proximity to The Directrice and the Photographer! And I am glad I wore some semi-stylish duds. I would include a photo, but I don’t know how to include one in a comment!

    • A near-miss, Hope! It would have been a thrill to run into a Directricey-acquaintance while in Maine! I hope you are having a wonderful time.

  5. I totally agree about the “expectations” issue w/r/t TripAdvisor, although I don’t mind when an expensive choice receives poor reviews on those grounds — for an expensive treat, expectations are naturally going to be higher and more easily disappointed. When a moderately-priced option receives poor reviews because the author apparently was operating under the delusion that he/she was going to receive Ritz levels of luxury at a Holiday Inn price point, THAT really gets to me.


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